Construction employment increased in 215 of 339 metro areas between October 2012 and October 2013, according to analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). During this period, employment in the construction sector declined in 74 metro areas and was stagnant in 50.
"October was a good month for construction employment in many parts of the country," said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. "It will take many more months of strong jobs gains before construction employment returns to peak levels in many parts of the country, however."
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (9,700 jobs, 13 percent); followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (8,500 jobs, 10 percent); Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (7,500 jobs, 14 percent) and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. (6,800 jobs, 11 percent).
The largest percentage gains occurred in Pascagoula, Miss. (35 percent, 1,500 jobs); Eau Claire, Wis. (28 percent, 900 jobs) and Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.Va. (24 percent, 400 jobs).
The largest job losses from October 2012 to October 2013 were in Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. (-4,300 jobs, -11 percent); followed by Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (-3,500 jobs, -12 percent); Gary, Ind. (-3,300 jobs, -15 percent) and Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (-2,600 jobs, -7 percent).
The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Modesto, Calif. (-22 percent, -1,500 jobs); Gary, Ind.; Rockford, Ill. (-15 percent, -700 jobs); Raleigh-Cary, N.C. and Yuma, Ariz. (-12 percent, -300 jobs).
Association officials said Congress and the administration could help boost construction employment by quickly completing Water Resources Development legislation that has already passed both houses and passing a new surface transportation bill next year that funds repairs to aging roads, bridges and transit systems. They added that any new transportation bill must address funding shortfalls that have nearly depleted the federal Highway Trust Fund.
"If Congress can display the same kind of bipartisan support for transportation funding that it did for the Water Resources bill, it can help boost construction employment in many parts of the country," said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO.